Saturday, September 17, 2005

An Open Mic

The Harris Bloom Open Mic Tour touched down on the Upper West Side last night - here's how things went down...

Here's the deal - ya pay $5 for 5 minutes of stage time...the "crowd" (10-15 people total) is all comics waiting to get on stage - most left after they did their turn - you can imagine what a great crowd that is

Jessica at Gotham even warned me that it's tough to get a laugh at these things (partly due to comic egos - everyone thinks they're funnier than everyone else).

One comic seemed a little "slow" - I later found out that he was hit in the head a few years ago and has some brain damage

One guy said he's finally found The One - and it's himself - he then proceeded to spend five minutes about going out on a date with himself - yes, five minutes

We had the black dude talking about white people and the chick talking about how tough it is to be single (note: I wonder if I'd roll my eyes if I saw me due my Internet Dating stuff - nah! MINE is clever!)

Almost everyone brought notes up with actually read his act from a notebook

I, in an effort not to repeat what happened last week, actually taped a piece of paper to my hand at work with keywords on each bit on it (dog, heat, work, etc)

when i got to the club, the paper was gone - gulp

Long story short (I know...too late) - I was up 8th - I did my whole routine...didn't forget anything...good pacing - got a couple chuckles but that was pretty much what everyone got (which was ridiculous since I was SO much better than everyone else! - Actually there was one surfer/stoner dude who was far the best)

I have another similar thingy tomorrow at NY Comedy Club - I wonder if a few weeks of these open mics with no one laughing will affect my confidence. I guess we'll see.

Rock On,


Friday, September 16, 2005

Yesterday's Audition

So I left work at 2:30 for an audition yesterday at New York Comedy Club. If you've never been there, it's kinda like being in CBGB's in teh mid-70's... Though it sounds like a great name for a great comedy club in a great city, you'll feel like getting a tetanus shot after leaving.

Anyway, there were 5 or 6 of us waiting outside for them to open. I wondered aloud if heckling would be allowed - I mean, we WERE competing with each other for a real gig - imagine how great it would be if we were allowed one "YOU SUCK!" per comic.

Finally, we go in and are instructed to go into the #2 room (the #1 room was being used), which is rather appropriately named since it's a piece of crap. It's like performing in the middle of a subway car. Seriously, 1/2 the audience is looking at my bald spot at all times.

Funniest thing to me was how I noticed the comics - including me - watching the manager out of the corner of their eyes when someone else was on stage to see if he was laughing. The only time I saw him laughing was when he made his own joke.

As people trickled in I went on. I did okay - a little more nervous than I'd like, but I got some laughs. He took everyone's number. No call yet.

Some of my favorite auditions...

One guy's whole set was a retrospective of Wil Ferrell's career on SNL - doing one character after another (with wardrobe changes) - nothing funnier than seeing him do schtick with a white wig on and no one laughing

Another guy's CD didn't work so he did his parody song accapella...but he told us everyone once in a while that "this is where the music goes, 'Bum, dum, dum, bui DUM!"

Another guy took off his shoes before going onstage - I have no idea why - didn't figure into his set at all, but I did notice the manager staring at his feet. Personally, I would rinse my feet in Drano if they touched the floor in this place.

Things that annoy me that I can't do anything about, Part 2 (One was the Stand Up NY incident from Tuesday night) - After it was over, the guy that runs the open mic at NYCC walked over to the guy who was sitting next to me. The guy next to me is running a big show at NYU, where he hopefully will make it into a series and the comics will get paid. The open mic runner pleaded his case for being on the show to NYU guy. NYU guy ended up performing at his open mic - I found out this morning that NYU guy "won" a spot at NYCC as the best open mic'er of the evening. The winner was chosen by the guy who runs the open mic. Hmmmm

Rock On,


Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Went to an open mic at The Comedy Cellar, a mic that I was warned was pretty brutal - was it? Read on and find out.

It was brutal (I'm not gonna string along my readers).

Big turnout, about 25 or so comics. No one laughed. Seriously. Some comics did their whole set in complete silence. A few are the type to laugh at their own jokes which just made it all the more painful to watch. Several comedians moronically commented, like, "C'mon guys, that was a good joke," as if we'd realize the error of our ways and start laughing hysterically.

One comic appeared to be on the verge of a nervous breakdown. After every few poor received jokes, he said (apparently to himself), "That's okay, that's okay, just keep going." His entire act was recounting an IM conversation he had with a girl. Any word stronger than "brutal" would describe it. He kept going, "And then I said....and then she said....and then I said..." and of course, none of it was remotely humorous.

One older guy kept having to pull up his pants. If his shirt wasn't as long as it was, the evening might've been even been Uglier.

That was The Ugly.

The Bad was that I forgot a joke midway through. Thankfully, I had my noted with my onstage (as a lot of comics do) since I haven't done my "work stuff" in a while, so I just consulted them and carried on.

Also Bad (maybe Ugly) was that I went towards the the time I got onstage, there were maybe 8 people there.

The Good? I got about as many laughs as anyone (not saying much). My new "Vegas stuff" is a good opener and my "job/daughter/stripper" bit got decent laughs (which means at least two people laughed).

Rock On,


P.S. Funny sidenote to my TV appearance the other evening. I had told people at the dog park to watch for it on channel 35. Bronwen went to the dog park yesterday and one older guy told her that he turned it on and saw naked women. He said he turned it off immediately but wondered if I was doing porn.
(okay, he didn't say that,...but he prolly thought it)

Life on the Z List

So last night I went to an open mic and was interviewed LIVE on a cable show - how did they go? Do you have to ask? Read on....

So I've become a bit of a regular at the Tuesday night Stand Up NY open mic; so much so that the woman who runs it calls me Monday night to see if I'm coming. The problem is that she calls me at 9:30. She'd have a better chance of catching me at Marquee dancing on a table, sandwiched between Paris Hilton and Tara Reid.

Anyway, I forgot to call but do so on Tuesday, middayish. When I arrive at Stand Up, she informs me that I called too late...all the spots have been filled, but she would put me on the "alternate" list if someone doesn't show.

Now, while I understood that stuff happens, I didn't understand why she didn't call me back to let me know this. Perhaps I'm cynical, but I have a suspicion it has something to do with the fact that she wants to have alternate's. Anyway, without saying much (I'm in no position to youknowwhat anyone off...yet), I left. It's bad enough that I have to pay $5 to get onstage for these open mics, I ain't gonna sit and watch 20 comics perform not knowing whether I'm going up.

(Since I had nothing to do until later, I went to The Moth show at the Nuyorican, where I chatted for a minute with host Dan Kennedy of I almost didn't recognize him as he has grown a mustache, which he terms as "ironic" but if you ask me, he looks like he could star alongside Steve Buschemi in a Coen Brothers film. But I digress...)

Following the instructions I received from the show, I made sure that my hair, makeup and styling was already done before going. Thankfully, they also gave subway and walking instructions on how to get there (I guess not many of their guests arrive by limo or even taxi).

So I was told that even though the show starts at 11 (LIVE!), I had to be at the TV studio at 9 so that they can cut out a piece of the DVD of one of my Gotham performances as a clip for the show. So I walk in...and there are about six black people sitting in folding chairs staring at me. (Apparently that was the "green room.") For some reason I just stood there in silence until one of the women pointedly said, "Good evening."

"Ummm, hi," I replied, before finding out that I was in the right place.

Eventually I made my way back to the engineer's room. Gave him my DVD and was working with him in cutting out the clip I wanted for the show when one of the producers, a really short 50-something year old Joe Pesci sounding wannabe with his graying hair slicked back, came in and yelled, "You're supposed to bring it IN already cut!"

"Ummm, I called...they said I could bring it in as is."

"WHO said that?!?

"Ummm, Lenn Cooper?"

"Look, we have no time for this!" He instructed the engineer to start working on something else while I fought back tears.

I saw the person who got me on the show. She had seen me at StandUp NY the previous week.

"I'm sure you'll do fine,"she said, "I don't remember any of your act but I'm sure it was funny."

Thanks. Then I asked her how I looked.

"You look fine, besides, believe it or not, everyone looks better on TV. Trust me."

Anyway, at 11 the show started.

I was watching on a monitor in the green room. Some of the guests included...

- A singer who finished 4th in Star Search five years ago

- A guy who did a documentary about suicide bombers

- The host's friend (I assume) who brought newspaper clippings and read them

- A red-headed 20-something year old guy who spoke about mysticism and the wonders of smoking and eating cannabis. He had a hand written "Proud to be Poor" sign hanging off of his shirt pocket. He was insane.

- A salsa singer whose clip had him singing solo in front of a blue florescent backdrop. His voice was barely audible over the music. If Pedro from Napoleon Dynamite ever decided to sing salsa, I think he should study that performance.

- A 40-something year old stripper who's trying to make it as an agent.

The stripper told me that New York really sucked her in when she first arrived.

"It was crazy. like soon as I got here, it was in bloodstream...I was hooked. I haven't left since."

"Where did you come from?" I asked, expecting to hear "Kansas" or perhaps "Bulgaria."

"New Jersey."

The show went on and on and on and on - finally around 12:30 AM when cannabis boy went on, I knew I was next. How? BECAUSE THERE WAS NO ONE ELSE THERE! (On the bright side, it was my first gig as a headliner).

I got on around 12:40. Interview lasted about 10 minutes, which included a clip...I have no idea if it was the right one though. I have no idea because not only couldn't I hear the clip while in the studio but when I got home to watch the tape, they musta forgotten to start taping until half way through the interview. Morons.

The host seemed intent on asking me boring questions, like asking in-depth questions about my accounting gig and whether I think companies still cook the books (when I replied, "yes," he reacted as if I told him where Hoffa is buried.) He also kept cutting me off, making sure that the spotlight was on him as much as possible (I'd prolly do the same if I were in his shoes). Overall, I did okay, though not sure the whole thing was worth getting home past 1AM.

I did get some revenge though: I stole a pen. It wasn't engraved with the show's name or anything. But it wrote well. That'll teach 'em.

Rock On,


Monday, September 5, 2005

Now Cut That Out!

If yer wonderin' how a neurotic jewish accountant type (okay, not "type" - i AM a neurotic jew accountant) acts in a doctor's office when he's got Mole Issues, read on.....

So I went for a physical a couple months ago. The doc noticed a mole around my right shoulder blade that looked "suspicious." He asked me if it had changed in appearance at all.
"How do I know? It's on my back."
"Good point. But in that case, guess we'll just have to take it out."

It took me two months, but I finally made an appointment to see the dermatologist. I saw her two weeks ago.
She looked at it and said,"Yup...gotta come off."
"Tell it to me straight doc...How long do I have?"
"You?" she said, sizing me up, "Prolly about fifty years. You're mole has two weeks. See ya then."
(Ed. note - she didn't really do or say it like that but it woulda been cool if she did...btw - her 5 minute appraisal cost me 10 bucks and Oxford 190)

So two weeks later, there i was...the nurse called my name in the waiting room and placed me in one of those cold sterile exam rooms.

The nurse came in, putting a filled needle, knife-like object, napkin-like thingy and cotton ball on a tray.
"What are those for?" I asked.
"For you."
"I don't think those are mine. I asked for spaghetti Bolognese."
"Nevermind...just a little joke." "Very little." She smiled weakly and left.

She came back with a form for me to sign.
"What's this?" I inquired as she handed it to me with a pen.
"Just a consent form."
"Oh...In case my spleen gets perforated and I start gushing blood? I guess ya want my next of kin too?"
"No, no, no - you'll be fine. It just tells you that there will be a scar and you're okay with it."
"That is unacceptable! My face is how I make a living! It cannot be scarred!"
"I thought the mole was on your back?" the nurse said, while peaking at my chart.
"It is."
"So why would your face get scarred?"
"That's what I'd like to know."
"It wont."
"Oh...well...I'll sign it, but I'm not happy about it!"
"You're too much," she said taking the form, and then left, shaking her head while smiling.

So the doc comes in and greets me, taking a look at my mole.
"I hear yer making trouble," she said.
"Moi? Has the mole changed?" I asked.
"From two weeks ago?...uhhh, no."
"Cool! Then we dont have to take it out! Right?"
"Umm, no...still comin' off...You're not scared, are ya?" she asked incredulously.
"Who? Me? Scared? Why, no...thats so funny...not funny, ha ha or anything, but funny, like 'odd'...what would make you think I'm scared?
"You seem slightly nervous...and you're back is sweating." Shocking.
"Nah, not nervous, I mean, what do I have to be nervous about?"
"You're just gonna gimmee an injection in my back."
"It'll only sting for a sec."
"Right...And then yer gonna take a knife and cut out a piece of me."
"You wont feel a thing."
"Of course...And then yer gonna put needles and thread through my skin to bind it together."
"Again. You wont feel a thing."
"Naturally...all i know is I'm getting woozy just thinkin' about it."
"Would you like to lie down?"
"No, I'm okay. If I do feel the sudden need to faint though, would you recommend backwards or forwards?"
"Maybe you better sit."
I sat down while she got the equipment for the job ready. I looked over her shoulder and saw a cotton ball soaked with a reddish liquid."
"Umm, why's that cotton ball dipped in blood?"
"That's not blood," Dr. Rabbin said laughing, "That's disinfectant. Just gonna clean the area with it."
"Oh...I thought you were re-using cotton balls."
"You really thought that?" she asked incredulously (again).
"Well, in this economy, we're all cuttin' corners."
"You're insane."
"You say that like it's a bad thing."

She instructed me to lie down and turn on my right side. My already clammy skin immediately stuck to the paper on the "operating" table. She picked up the needle. I sprung up.
"That's a, quite a..a needle ya got there."
"I swear. It won't sting but for a second."
"Well, usually when a doctor tells me somethin' wont hurt at all, it means it's gonna hurt a bit. When y'all tell me it's gonna hurt a bit, it means I better use a mouthpiece so I dont bite my tongue."
"Seriously. This wont hurt. Yesterday, I had two thirteen year old girls having this done."
"I get it. Yer tryin' to shame me into not whining....Or are you offering them to me if I shut up?"
"You are seriously insane."
"One more question before we start."
"What were they wearing?"
"Lie down...on your side."

"So, yer an accountant, huh?" she said, in an obvious attempt to take my mind off what was about to occur.
"Yup. What do you do for a living?" I asked
"Very funny. You should be a comedian."

A few seconds pass. I thought about what's goin' on behind me. The silence was painful.

"It's a good thing I have no backbone. I'd prolly be worried that you'd scrape it with the needle or knife. One less thing to worry about."
"You're doin' fiiiine," Dr. Rabbin said slowly, concentrating on her work. I felt sweat dripping down my forehead but I dared not move to wipe it...not while she had a knife in my back. I felt tugging from my back....stitches.
"Sooo, are these stitches the kind that evaporate or what?"
"You mean dissolve? No, you're gonna have to come back in two weeks to have them removed."
"Super." I slightly lifted my head in a futile attempt to create some separation with the head was glued to it with sweat.

"All done," Doc said, "Sit up for a few minutes. I'll be back." I peeled myself off the paper. She turned on the fan, directed it at me, took my mole (I assume) and left.

She came back with "care instructions" and told me to make an appointment for two weeks to get them removed. She shook my hand and turned to go.
"I actually do have one question for ya."
"Is there any way to get the mole back from the lab after they're done testin' it?"
"That's a new one. Umm, no, I don't think so. Why would you want it?"
"Well, I'm gonna be a famous writer pretty soon, so I thought I might be able to sign it and sell it on Ebay."
"You're absolutely insane. Seeya in two weeks."

Rock On,